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For bricks and mortar retailers, there’s no going back to how it was anytime soon. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis, they had been fighting a fierce battle against online shopping and significant e-commerce players. The high street has done a pretty good job of evolving over the years. From its humble beginnings in the late 19th century to its boom in the late 20th, it’s constantly adapted to meet changing consumer needs. The risk to retail But, it’s now reported to be at risk. Sales and footfall started to dwindle decades ago. The dawn of internet shopping in the mid- 2000s saw numbers drop even more dramatically. Indeed, we have heard and seen reports repeatedly on ‘the death of the high street.’ Footfall went down to virtually zero, thanks to this year’s nationwide lockdown Making matters worse, footfall went down to virtually zero, thanks to this year’s nationwide lockdown. Even Primark, the international ‘hero of the high street,’ saw their average £650m in weekly sales nosedive to nothing without an online presence. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Primark for one came back fighting, and is now expected to hit £2bn by the end of the year. "After a period of store closure, we are encouraged by the strength of our sales," it’s owner AB Foods said in its latest trading update. And continued: "In the latest four-week UK market data for sales in all channels, Primark achieved our highest-ever value and volume shares for this time of year." The threat of new restrictions As we come to a ‘pivotal point’ in the fight against COVID, with threats of new restrictions, it’s time to think about what the next generation of our high streets will look like. The current crisis gives us some clues: it’s local, it’s data-driven and it’s tech-enabled. Crucially, it’s proven to work. The digital high street One of the biggest changes the high street has had to adjust to is the digital revolution. New technologies have massively disrupted the way we spend. 82% of consumers now shop online, compared with just 53% ten years ago, with more than half of people aged 65 and over saying they shop online. Age is no longer a barrier. That’s meant that not only have in-store sales dropped, but shopping patterns have become erratic and harder to predict. From opening times to managing stock and staff – everything has had to adapt. We had to pivot quickly to create an online model The issue was exacerbated over lockdown, as consumers had little choice but to shop online. Digital retailers struggled with resources to fulfill orders, case in point was the endless wait times for supermarket delivery slots. But together, we managed to evolve. As nimble businesses, we had to pivot quickly to create an online model that could operate in conjunction with traditional stores, either via click and collect or similar operatives. And now, we are reaping the rewards. Countless high street pubs and restaurants are now allowing customers to order online and finding ways with new openings to take orders online and deliver a table service. It’s undoubtedly an adjustment, and one that will be easier for some to make than others – but those that can establish an omnichannel presence now will be in a strong position for the future. Online versus the high street Historically, in-store has come second to online for a lot of retailers: even those with omnichannel strategies tend to treat the in-store experience like something of a second-class citizen. Now’s the time to change that. The new online stores that have popped up are unlikely to go anywhere, even once lockdown ends. Their success is proof that getting online and in-store more aligned is an opportunity for, not a threat to, the high street. There needs to be the removal of the ‘physical versus online experience’ for brands, and instead blend the two together, which is made possible through mobile technology. Digital transformation grants a huge opportunity for traditional retail. And no better an example than Amazon, the poster child of online retail. Amazon had previously acknowledged the value of a physical retail channel and had opened physical locations for its books and fresh produce business streams. In August 2020, post COVID-19 lockdown, it has continued with its plan to open thirty physical stores in the UK. High street trends Alongside digital, many trends that were perhaps bubbling under the surface of the retail high street have now made their way to the forefront of securing the new landscape. Sustainable shopping has been accelerated by the crisis. In the last couple of years, retailers’ attention has shifted to focus on making their supply chain and working practices eco-friendlier and socially responsible. Lockdown and our post-retail experience has seen a call for shopping and supporting our local businesses Lockdown and our post-retail experience has seen a call for shopping and supporting our local businesses. Shoppers are more engaged with their local high street now and visiting it more than ever before. Motivated by the instinct to protect their local community. Data has also been key to the new high street. This works both ways, as shoppers are now more informed and in control than ever before. The power of smartphones and increased data coverage has lead to simple but powerful capabilities, like being able to run a price comparison quickly and conveniently. Since a majority of consumers now operate with the ‘mobile mindset’, gone are the days when they will settle for what’s available. Surviving in this new world To survive in this new world, data can support creations of compelling omnichannel experiences. It can help to build loyalty based on customer values, wants and needs. And, it allows ways for retailers to understand how customers are moving around the high street to better predict their requirements. Data proves a holistic view of how, where and when customers spend. Knowing where consumers spend time in store and in which department, demonstrates an understanding of their interests and purchasing choices. Knowing these preferences, creates the foundation for any great customer experience. The technology-led high street In theory, with so many different opportunities for the high street, it is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change. To deliver in practice, retailers need to lay the foundations for more efficient operations, to meet consumer demands quickly, efficiently, and cost (and time) effectively. Technology arguably holds the key to the challenges of raising standards. And it’s in small ways that it can make a difference. For example, instead of keeping customers waiting while members of staff hunt for a charged-up tablet device to look for stock levels or product information, an automated retail asset management solution means this essential knowledge is right at hand. Even seemingly simple processes can be automated to deliver service and improved business efficiency. For example, on average, it takes staff members six minutes to find a key or working device. That is equal to 42 minutes in productivity time every week for each employee, which can cause losses of up to £40,000 a year. This is where an effective key management system minimizes downtime and cuts unnecessary costs. Traka is supporting businesses, including Primark and leading department stores, to implement new strategies for the critical control of access to key and equipment, enabling more effective use, and in turn quicker customer response times. Asset management solutions With a fully automated asset management solution in place, valuables such as keys, cash trays, stock and equipment (e.g. handheld scanners) can be monitored and maintained. A full audit trail with real-time reporting means retailers can see exactly who has removed which device, when it was taken and when it has been returned. This results in staff becoming more accountable and equipment being utilised more efficiently, eliminating the need for arduous and costly manual administration. Reshape the bricks-and-mortar infrastructure and breathe new life into the high street By streamlining processes and effectively protecting business assets, Traka supports in-store retail in their ambition to becomes a ripe opportunity to “innovate, delight and create stronger ties with customers.” And become an integral touchpoint in the future of commerce, helping retailers to adapt to the new retail landscape. In summary, there’s the opportunity to reshape the bricks-and-mortar infrastructure and breathe new life into the high street. The industry needs future-focused visionaries who can provide a fresh perspective and reinvigorate bricks-and-mortar retail in the years to come, utilising tools available to them to enhance their proposition to the new post-lockdown consumer.
Stadiums around the world are still paralyzed from the effects of COVID-19. Fans and spectators in masses have been absent from stadiums since April and there doesn’t seem to be a concrete plan on how or when they’ll be able to return to near capacity. The NBA recently opted to form a bubble philosophy concept in Disney’s facilities, although it’s been a relative success, it’s also been a $200 million temporary solution. This then begs the question: How long can stadiums survive like this without spectator’s present? History tells us that stadiums, venues and sport recover from disasters, so what can stadiums do to speed up the process? This is the catalyst for AI to be integrated on mass level to stadiums around the world. AI is the answer AI’s role in getting fans and spectators back is huge, through capabilities such as: Social Distance Monitoring Crowd Scanning/Metrics Facial Recognition Fever Detection Track & Trace Providing Behavioural Analytics Technologies such as IREX.ai is now working alongside National Leagues, Franchises and Governing Bodies to implement AI surveillance software into their CCTV/surveillance cameras. This is now creating a more collaborative effort from the operations team in stadiums, rather than purely security. Stadiums around the world are still paralyzed from the effects of COVID-19 AI surveillance software such as IREX.ai when implemented into the surveillance cameras can be accessed by designated users on any device and on any browser platform. Crowd metrics Arming stadiums with AI-powered surveillance tools can detect crowd metrics such as “people counting” and “group statistics”. This ensures stadium personnel can monitor social distancing with precision, accuracy and immediately. Alerts can be set up throughout parts of the stadium to alert senior staff members when overcrowding can appear with real time videos, analytics and photos to their hand-held device, such as a smartphone. Fever detection Thermal cameras have been implemented throughout facilities including stadiums and are helping assist to spot people with elevated temperatures. What IREX.ai implements is an alert system, coupled with facial recognition of any individual(s) that read an elevated body temperature. This alert system then provides security and health officials with a photo of the individual with the elevated body temperature, meaning staff can react quicker to the situation prevent this individual from entry. Pandemic monitoring by facial recognition Thermal cameras have been implemented throughout facilities including stadiums and are helping assist to spot people with elevated temperatures Through facial recognition, staff members will be able to locate individuals through simply uploading a photo. It has never been easier to find a person of interest. With masks becoming an everyday part of society, facial recognition has come under scrutiny regarding the accuracy when a mask is worn. Irex.ai still maintains a 96% accuracy with individuals wearing masks and can set up alerts for any individuals not wearing a mask. Another important aspect of facial recognition is finding persons of interest quickly through technology like IREX.ai’s “searchveillance”. The future is here. Designated staff can track a person from when they enter the stadium by simply uploading their photograph. An example of how this can assist stadium personnel is to help relocate lost children inside the stadium with their guardians/parents when they are separated. Another attribute would be any individuals banned from entering the stadium would trigger alerts once they appear under surveillance, a fantastic collaborative tool to use with Law Enforcement. Return on investment With security solutions, one of the biggest issues with any security investment is a lack of an ROI. This is where AI security is breaking the mould. The ability to provide business analytics, consumer/fan behaviours, traffic patterns, etc, allows other departments within the organization to gain vital information that can assist with their strategies and practices. Stadium security will never be the same in a post-COVID world, so why will its practices stay the same? AI & Stadiums is no longer the future, it’s the 2020 solution.
Across the world, the impact of the current pandemic has majorly disrupted how we function in our everyday lives, as a society, and the ways in which we do our jobs. Throughout, our personal safety and wellbeing, as well as that of our families, neighbours and colleagues, has been paramount - and adapting our day-to-day lives to meet social distancing measures has been a learning curve for us all. As we start to reassemble normal life, precautionary measures will continue to be put in place to achieve the universal aim of mitigating the spread of the virus as much as possible. As different countries reach new stages of this process, some parts of the world continue to live and work in lockdown, while some are beginning to open up. This means governments, as well as businesses and organizations, will need to think beyond one-way systems and sanitation stations to contain the risk of infection as more people begin to return to the outside world. Tracing the spread of COVID-19 Of course, this will need to be driven by higher-level support from leaders in government, healthcare and technology to develop innovative ways of tracking and tracing the spread of COVID-19. From contact tracing solutions, to self-reporting apps and thermal screening cameras – governments and businesses across Europe have a new responsibility to seek and reinforce the most effective ways to ensure people’s safety. These measures are particularly pertinent to those reopening their doors as lockdown eases, and those returning to a daily routine of commuting to and serviced office spaces. As more and more people begin to move through public and commercial areas, we will rely more on technology to run in the background to ensure safety and wellbeing is monitored - much like that of the everyday CCTV camera. Thermal temperature screening cameras One piece of technology that we can expect to see as more commonplace is the thermal temperature screening cameras and monitoring system. An example of this kind of device, is D-Link’s recently launched all-in-one, intelligent fever screening kit – which includes a dual-lens thermographic camera, blackbody calibrator, as well as integrated management software. Governments, as well as businesses and organizations, will need to think beyond one-way systems and sanitation stations to contain the risk of infection The premise of temperature screening cameras like this one, is to harness thermal imaging technology coupling it with AI to identify if a person is experiencing elevated temperatures, and raise the alarm automatically when someone at risk of spreading is detected. To monitor the progression or depletion of COVID-19, technologies such as AI facial recognition will play an important role in mitigating the risks of the virus spreading. Thermal cameras that use AI can easily capture and manage employee’s temperature and stop their entrance if a fever is detected. For this reason, such devices are normally installed in a doorway or entrance to a building to quickly detect and identify those displaying symptoms before entering a building. This type of surveillance will be detrimental to the management of COVID-19 in the world of a ‘new normal’ – as companies feel their way out and learn as they go along with people’s health and wellbeing continuing to be center of the mind. Just as lockdown has had an impact on physical as well as mental health, so too will the adjustment to living life post-pandemic. Not only in getting used to and dealing with the emotional and mental pressures of life on the ‘outside’ as they leave lockdown, but they also face the very real risk of contracting the virus and the worries they may have of spreading it. Appropriate installation of temperature screening Companies and organizations have a responsibility in these times to play a supportive role towards employees, such as allowing them to continue working from home until they feel comfortable to work in an office setting. Equally, as restrictions ease, employers have a duty to make the workplace a safe place that is able to uphold the wellbeing of staff, which is where, as we wait for a vaccine, we must make use of the available technology. However, in the case of the thermal camera, in order for it to deliver effective results, it must be installed appropriately. To support this, we have outlined some key points to consider when deploying a temperature screening camera here: Choose a solution that features a blackbody calibrator – a vital part for any temperature screening device. A blackbody calibrator is the basis for accurate calibration of infrared thermography devices and allows the device to accurately detect a fever. Check for facing windows or doorways and heat sources such as radiators as these increase the risk of stray heat or cold sources throwing off readings according to the ISO standard associated with this type of equipment Be wary of weather and changes in climate as the device will need time to acclimatise – in order for readings to be clear individuals coming in from outside must wait five minutes before being screened When mounted, the camera must face individuals head-on and in parallel with their face to capture the inner eye area which is crucial for temperature reading Consider an option using AI which will automatically recognize individuals based on photos in the system Check applicability and legality of temperature screening cameras before deploying There’s a long way to go before life will fully return to normal. In the meantime, and to help everyone along the way, it’s essential that the right measures are in place to protect the physical and mental wellbeing of those we are responsible for. For anyone who is exploring options, know that there is help out there to provide guidance and expertise on the solutions that will be right for you and your business - now, as we go through the remainder of lockdown, and as we slowly move back into everyday lives.
In 2020, with the continuous spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people have been infected around the globe. Touchless security devices In these uncertain times, with the ever-increasing demand for touchless security devices, Anviz, a globally renowned biometric security solutions firm, offers the latest touchless solutions - iris and face recognition access control terminals. The company’s latest iris and face recognition access control terminals help reassure business owners, wrestling with the uncertainties of running their businesses, during this very challenging period. Iris S2000 and FacePass 7 Series access control terminals Anviz’s Iris (S2000) and FacePass (FacePass 7 Series) recognition terminals provide 100% touchless user authentication for a variety of applications, spanning access control, time & attendance, visitor management, etc. These terminals help: Detect if a person requesting access has an acceptable face mask or glasses. The face recognition readers have body temperature detection that will instantly alert and deny access to anyone trying to enter with body temperature above the acceptable range. Efficient body temperature screening Anviz’s iris and face recognition terminals feature a very powerful embedded dual core processor Denying access to anyone with high body temperature prevents healthy individuals from being infected, especially in shipping facilities, airports, schools, commercial office buildings, pharmacies, grocery stores, and so on. Anviz’s iris and face recognition terminals are a combination of a very powerful embedded dual core processor and the latest AI deep learning algorithm for high-level accuracy and quick matching-speed. Featuring integrated thermal sensor The capture time of the company’s touchless access control devices is less than 1 second and the matching speed is less than 0.5 second and its body temperature detection is accurate to within +/- 0.3 degrees Fahrenheit when a person stands within 20 inches of its integrated thermal sensor. Anviz successfully launched 3 models of its touchless access control series.
Access control now includes a strong focus on the data integration sideof the business, as showcased at this year’s ISC West When the category of physical security emerged many decades ago, it was literally all about locks, hardware and creating barriers such as fences to keep people out. Fast forward to ISC West 2016 in Las Vegas this week, where the focus is on intelligent solutions, smart data, cloud-based access control and incorporating audio, video and a wide range of safeguards in a total, integrated approach. LE-802 Intelligent Audio Analytic System Louroe Electronics, Van Nuys, California, is one of the original pioneers of audio technologies, and as systems continue to merge and converge, the element of sound provides a much-needed added dimension to fortifying physical security applications. Louroe Electronics is unveiling the LE-802 Intelligent Audio Analytic System, offering a robust and easy-to-install application for unattended audio monitoring on specific events analyzing the presence of gunshots, aggressive speech, glass breaking and car alarms. The system is a complete hardware and software solution housed in a weather- and vandal-resistant enclosure for outdoor applications. It also integrates with most video management and monitoring systems and works as a standalone edge solution analyzing sounds in real time, according to Chris Gaunt, Manager of North American Sales. Connecting Audio To Video Surveillance “Audio security gives you another piece of the puzzle and makes what was a silent movie come to life,” he says, adding that the bread and butter for the company is tying audio to video surveillance, as an attachment to cameras or nearby as an enhancement to surveillance. “For example, in schools, some 80 percent of verbal encounters lead to something aggressive, and now we can do something with preventative audio software,” he says. The company partnered with an analytics company to build the additional audio capabilities into its product, which also fits markets such as public safety, commercial and law enforcement, in addition to education. It also brought to market the Verifact® a gunshot detector for active shooter incidents. Louroe Electronics demonstrated the Verifact® Gunshot Detector at ISC West Data Builds Intelligent Processes A common theme of data and added intelligence was front and center at the show – getting more from physical security. Vanderbilt Industries, Parsippany, New Jersey, introduced Vanderbilt VI Connect at the show, a custom-configurable data management system that integrates Vanderbilt’s security management system (SMS), with third party, disparate systems of any size to automate business workflow. Automation For Error Reduction Mitchell Kane, President of Vanderbilt Industries, says the process of access control has changed and now includes a strong focus on the data integration side of the business. “Automating workflow makes the process less labor-intensive and eliminates user error in programming permissions and schedules. The entire process is automated and performed through web interfaces and hosting. Everything we automate means one less thing to do and one less chance of doing something wrong.” VI Connect establishes rules engines and also can provide the systems integrator with detailed security audits and reports for the end user. For example, the solution can be used in higher education environments where student data — demographic information, enrolled courses, housing information and badging settings — can be processed and manipulated through the VI Connect system, ensuring that a student is only allowed to gain access to campus buildings that are relevant to that particular student’s major. CrossChex Time Attendance And Access Control Management System Anviz, an intelligent security provider with roots in biometric and RFID applications, is making its move to the cloud with the CrossChex Time Attendance and Access Control Management System. The company offers three different levels to expand the scope of specification possibilities: Desktop for small and medium businesses; Professional designed for enterprise web-based management; and Cloud for global enterprise applications. Brian Fazio, Director of Global Sales, Shanghai, China, says the three different versions provide a full solution for every type of user and their specific time and attendance applications. “CrossChex satisfies the time and attendance and access control requirements in different, complicated environments,” he says, and it also provides report management and a mobile application function that can be applied and accessed via smartphones. The lines of typical product categories continue to blur. The focus is on integrating a wide range of solutions to meet the challenges and issues of the end-user customer.
Foot traffic improved a little on the second day of ASIS International in Anaheim, California. Furthermore, the high quality of meetings at the big industry show tended to overshadow complaints about attendance. There is plenty to talk about in Anaheim. “The conversations have been much more substantial than you usually have at a trade show,” says Charles Hunger, Product Marketing Director, Anviz Global Inc. “They’re not general conversations, they’re ‘How can I use it? I have a very specific problem I need to solve.” Cloud-Based Services For Biometric Access Control Anviz specialises in small- to medium-sized business (SMB) applications. The company’s biometric time-and-attendance systems are strong in the retail/restaurant/small medical facility market, while the manufacturing vertical favours Anviz biometric access control applications. A relative newcomer to the U.S. market, Anviz announced at ASIS that it will begin offering cloud-based services for biometric access control and time and attendance. In business since 2001, Anviz has been successful in the Latin American market (especially Argentina) and entered the U.S. market in 2010, selling products manufactured in Shanghai, China, including a line of surveillance cameras branded under the Anviz name. The company has about two dozen dealers across North America, moving deliberately with a strategy to pay for growth in the U.S. market from sales revenues. OnSSI Ocularis v5.0 ASIS is a great venue to highlight product improvements, and some new products introduced just last spring have been upgraded and improved since their initial launch. For example, OnSSI introduced Ocularis Version 5.0 in the spring, the first version of OnSSI’s flagship software that uses the company’s own recorder (versus an OEM’d recorder.) Ocularis Version 5.1 now includes additional integrations with camera manufacturers, including Arecont Vision and Canon, in addition to the cameras previously supported. The system also uses server-based motion detection. ASIS is a great venue to highlightproduct improvements, and somenew products introduced just lastspring have been upgraded andimproved since their initial launch Fully encrypted using 256-bit AES, the software can be used in banking and government applications.The system also manages storage of video and load-balances storage among multiple drives to increase capacity. “The customer reaction to Ocularis 5 has been tremendous,” says Ken LaMarca, OnSSI’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “They are embracing it because it is a wholly owned product.” He says the quality of attendees at OnSSI’s booth has been very good. “But there haven’t been enough of them.” Placing confidence in the uniqueness of a product line is a good strategy in the era of commoditization. That seems to be the case for MOBOTIX, which has always charted its own product development course. The German company emphasized IP video when analog was still dominant, and they were also early to the idea of edge storage. Even with a heritage of innovation, Keith Jernigan, MOBOTIX General Manager, says the company needs to work to educate the market on who they are. New Thermal Cameras Offering hemispheric cameras, a new thermal radiometry camera and improved video management software (VMS) that is touch-screen and intuitive to operate, the company has a lot to tell the market about. There is also a 6 megapixel camera in the lineup and “Moonlight” low-light imaging. “We believe in the technologies the company was founded on,” says Jernigan, noting that many technologies have become more common since they were pioneered by MOBOTIX. Another message for MOBOTIX at the show is use of video for functions beyond security, such as use of the new thermal camera to detect temperature extremes to monitor manufacturing or other processes. Open House Events Placing confidence in the uniquenessof a product line is a good strategy inthe era of commoditization After the show closed, events in the evening continued to draw crowds, including two open house events in nearby Irvine, Calif., a center of technology. Axis Communications hosted an open house at their new “Axis Experience Center,” a learning facility that can host up to 28 people and also focuses on use of Axis products in a variety of vertical markets, with full displays of systems targeted to markets such as gaming, education, retail and banking. A short ride away, Dahua was also hosting an open house at its Irvine facility. The Chinese company is on the verge of expanding its presence in the U.S. market, building its channel, and positioning Dahua as a trusted brand in the video surveillance market. The company has been in the U.S. market for years as an OEM/ODM manufacturer, but is now beginning to build up its branded business. The global company is already selling products, including HD cameras, NVRs, video display walls, VMS software and video analytics, in 140 countries. It’s one of the companies that makes the ASIS show truly international.
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